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Three students taking part in a construction workshop

Morgan Sindall Construction holds inclusive building workshops for SEND students

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The Thames Valley team held two practical engagement sessions for Oxfordshire pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), to help them learn more about the construction industry and engage them in the building of their new school.

The team is currently building the state-of-the-art Orion Academy on Knights Road in Oxford. The £12 million development is being delivered for Oxfordshire County Council, for whom the company is also currently building a new £3 million extension to the nearby Hanborough Manor School.

Both sessions were supported by specialist mechanical and engineering contractor, J&B Hopkins from the project’s supply chain. Students and teachers from the school were invited to a guided tour of the site, where they were able to view how the building of their new school home is progressing, as well as ask operatives from J&B Hopkins questions about the work involved.

The following week, twelve lucky pupils were then invited to join a mechanical and electrical workshop on pipe crimping, where they were able to try their hand at joining both copper and plastic pipes followed by an electrical workshop, where they were taught how to set up a double plug socket under expert guidance from J&B Hopkins.

Both events were held in strict compliance with current Covid-19 health and safety guidelines, with all attendees maintaining social distancing and wearing protective PPE.

The team is working closely with their supply chain throughout the duration of the project and is focused on adding social value to the school and local community both during and after the build. Earlier in the year, children from the Orion Academy also took part in a learning and engagement event where they were invited to sign a brick to be placed in the school’s walls.

Earlier this month, the team won the School Engagement Employer of the Year award at the Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards. The award recognises the work that the Thames Valley team has been doing to create innovative ways to engage school aged children and the local community with the range of exciting careers available in the construction industry.

Orion Academy is operated by The Gallery Trust, a special multi-academy trust based in Oxfordshire. The Orion Academy build is scheduled to complete in autumn 2021, in time for the start of the new academic term.

Building Better Futures

Around 15% of England’s pupil population have special educational needs and disabilities. Morgan Sindall Construction has invested heavily in consulting, developing and refining the design of SEND schools to give the best possible educational experience. In 2020, it released a landmark ‘Building Better Futures’ report, which uses cross-sector knowledge to look at enhancing SEND school design and delivery and improving the student, teacher, carer and family experience.

Three students taking part in a construction workshop
The Morgan Sindall Construction, Thames Valley team held two practical engagement sessions for Oxfordshire pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)
James York, Area Director for Morgan Sindall Construction said, “We are really pleased to have hosted these learning workshops for the children at Orion Academy, working in collaboration with our local supply chain to help teach pupils about the many ways the construction industry can help shape the world around them. At Morgan Sindall Construction we are experienced at delivering inclusive environments for all and we look forward to the delivery of the new school later this year.”
Lynne Smith, Headteacher at Orion Academy, said: “We are delighted to have such positive links with our new build and the Morgan Sindall Construction team and we are really excited to be moving into our new school.”
Darren Male, Consultant Assistant Headteacher at Orion Academy said: “The students really enjoyed themselves and found the practical workshops helpful in learning more about the construction industry. This initiative has helped grow a further interest in vocational studies and all the students are looking forward to the new school being built and our new DT workshop opening to support our students with their vocational studies.”
Nick Humber, from JB Hopkins, said: “ We are pleased to be able to give the students who will be using the new academy the opportunity to be able to see the academy in its construction phase and to give them the chance to understand about the mechanical and electrical services being installed in their new state of the art facility.”

  • For more information about this news release please contact Helena Young at Influential on 07708896211 or email [email protected]